US declares monkeypox a public health emergency


The United States has declared monkeypox a public health emergency.


Xavier Becerra, secretary of the US department of health and human services, announced this in a briefing with journalists on Thursday.


“I want to make an announcement today that I will be declaring a public health emergency,” he said.


“We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus.

“We continue to marshal forward the tools that we need to make sure that we can take on monkeypox and keep it from spreading to the point of becoming endemic.


“There should be no reason why we can’t stay ahead of this if we all work together.”


In a social media post, Becerra confirmed that he had signed the public health emergency.


The declaration allows government agencies to quickly direct money towards developing and evaluating vaccines and drugs, to gain access to emergency funding and to hire additional workers to help manage the outbreak.


It also allows the health secretary to declare an emergency that usually lasts for 90 days, but may be extended.


The action comes after some states — California, Illinois and New York — declared their own emergencies.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) had already declared the virus to be a global health emergency.

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the US has reported over 7,000 cases of monkeypox. Cases have been identified in every state except Montana and Wyoming.


The majority of people infected with monkeypox in the country are men who have sex with men.


The Biden administration has been criticised for its handling of the outbreak, and some had called on the government to declare a national emergency without delay.

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